India’s opposition Congress Party’sVice-President Rahul Gandhi will succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi as President of the oldest political party in the country as early as on December 5.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, today decided to hold internal elections after seven long years.The poll notification will be issued on December 1, nomination will be on December 4, voting on December 16 and counting of votes on December 19.
But it is unlikely that Rahul Gandhi will face a challenge.
The 47-year-old Harvard-and-Cambridge-educated bachelor will be the Congress Party’s 60th President since it was founded by an Englishman 132 years ago, in 1885. And he will be the sixth member of the so-called Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.
Motilal Nehru was the first member of the family to become Congress President in 1919, and was elected for a second term in 1928. He handed over the party post to his son Jawahar Lal Nehru in 2029. Nehru, free India’s first prime minister, held the post seven more times: in 1930, 1936, 1937, 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1954.
Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi became Congress President in 1959 during his life time. She took charge of the party as its head in 1978 and held that post till her assassination in 1984.
Her son Rajiv Gandhi succeeded her as party chief as well as Prime Minister and continued till his assassination by an LTTE woman suicide-bomber in May 1991. His Italian-born widow Sonia took control of the party presidency in 1998 and has held the post continuously during these past 19 years.
Together, these five members of the Nehru-Gandhi family have held the Congress Party Presidency for a record 42 years! And three of them—-Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi—-together ruled India for 38 years since the country became independent in 1947. And no one from the family has held the prime minister’s post since Rajiv’s death over 26 years ago.